Missing World War II Marine makes it home; funeral Friday in Arroyo Grande – Lompoc Record

A family and community will get to bid a final farewell Friday to the only World War II veteran never to make it home to Oceano following the war.

After missing for the last 74 years, the remains of Pfc. George Bernard Murray were recently identified through a DNA match and flown from Hawaii to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday.

From there, Murray’s remains were escorted up the coast to San Luis Obispo County, where he will be laid to rest during a full military funeral at Arroyo Grande Cemetery on Friday morning.

The public is invited to attend the graveside service that starts promptly at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a gathering at the Oceano Depot, 1650 Front St.

Prior to the funeral that will include flyovers and a flag line, a funeral procession led by the Santa Maria-based chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders will leave Grover Beach’s Marshall-Spoo Sunset Funeral Chapel at 10 a.m. and head into Oceano toward the cemetery.

Highway 1 through Oceano will be lined with American flags honoring Murray, and people are encouraged to also line the funeral procession route to watch as the Marine is taken to his final resting place. Everyone is welcome at Murray’s service, according to close family friend Linda Austin.

Murray’s mother went to her own grave longing for her only son to return from war, and he will be buried atop his mother’s casket in the same grave. It was the closest that Murray’s family could get him to his mother, as all the burial plots around hers have been taken.

“She was always waiting for him to come home,”George Bernard Winslett, Murray’s nephew, told the Santa Maria Times. Winslett supplied the saliva used to make the DNA match with Murray’s remains.

Murray was killed in November 1943 during the three-day Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater. He was just 20 years old and had only been enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for nine months prior to his death.

Until today, Murray was the only veteran from Oceano never to return from the conflict and, also, the first south San Luis Obispo County man to die in World War II.

April Charltoncovers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn.

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Missing World War II Marine makes it home; funeral Friday in Arroyo Grande – Lompoc Record

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: World War II |

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